Finland should stay calm amid Trump rhetoric, president-elect Stubb says

HELSINKI (Reuters) – Finland’s president-elect Alexander Stubb said on Monday his country should remain calm and focus on its NATO membership despite former U.S. President Donald Trump‘s recent comments on the military alliance.

Trump, the front-runner to become the Republican candidate in November’s election, last week said he would not want to protect NATO members from a future attack by Russia if those countries’ contributions to NATO were lagging.

“U.S. election campaigns are very different from Finnish elections, and the rhetoric used is quite a lot stronger… I think at this stage it is best to remain calm and focus on building our NATO membership,” Stubb told a press conference.

Finland spends more on defence than the 2% of gross domestic product agreed by NATO member states, Stubb added.

On Sunday Stubb narrowly won Finland’s presidential election and will take office on March 1 in charge of security and foreign policy, including the recently approved NATO member’s stance towards Russia, with which it shares a long border.

(Reporting by Essi Lehto and Tom Little in Helsinki, editing by Stine Jacobsen, Louise Rasmussen)

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